My mother-in-law has a Christmas village.  It's a time consuming job, setting it up and decorating the six, six foot tables on which it resides.  Our family has added to this village for over ten years and with every year we've created a new design for Holtville.  Four years ago we added the flowing stream, six years ago we added a scaled train which chugs and whistles accordingly. 

I wear the cap of city planner.  It brings out the creative junkie in me.  Once all of the boxes are out and the sheets are on the tables, I begin with an intensity I cannot explain.  The town must flow, the people of the town must be able to travel to and fro without complication. 

The mountain must look believable and the park must be well lit at night.  There are several places of business in which parking can be a problem, so there must be plenty of area parking close to downtown.  I seem to become obsessive-compulsive until it is finished and I've forgotten to eat in the past while working on the 8 hour job.  After that experience, it became a two night endeavor. 

Once the creation is finished, I turn out the lights and watch as the train makes it's rounds, the diner's lights flash and the carolers sing their hymns.  The children are laughing and making snow angels, the parents are shopping and having a yard sale.  It is a magical experience I cannot wait to begin this very night. 

I can create small town life in a porcelain village.  However, during the past weekend festivities, I saw the real thing in action.  I sampled peach cobbler, watched the children sit on Santa's knee, listened to the blues on the Imogene's stage and caught candy at the parade while calling Merry Christmas. 

Continuing along, whilst walking into our local businesses, I will greet my friends and neighbors this Christmas season and talk about family life. 

While I may wear the hat of Holtville city planner, it doesn't come close to my activities as wife, mother, and roving newspaper reporter. Although, I do wish for snow angels.